Atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis causes the skin to become red and itchy. Some children may outgrow their conditions, while some may persist until their adulthoods. In this article, we will look into signs and care for a child with atopic eczema.
Symptoms of atopic eczema
- Itchy and dry skin, accompanied with red, scaly rash
- Symmetrical presentation on the body – both sides of the body
- Usually occurs at hands and feet and at skinfolds, such as armpits and inside elbows
- Frequent scratching may lead wounds of the atopic site
- Thickening of the atopic site due to frequent scratching
How to treat a child with atopic eczema?
Emollient or moisturiser therapy is the mainstay treatment for atopic eczema. It is important to keep the skin of a child with atopic eczema moisturised, and it will also help with the absorption of the other medication.
Topical steroids are also used in the treatment of atopic eczema. It helps reduce flare-ups and itchiness of eczema. However, the medication comes in different concentration and strength, which can put the child at risk for side effects such as thinning of the skins or formation of stretch marks.
Be sure to bring your child to be properly assessed by the doctor before starting on any treatment. Parents must also follow the doctors’ instructions regarding the use of the medications to ensure the best recovery with minimal side effects.
How to care for the skin of a child with atopic eczema?
- Keep the child’s fingernails short to prevent injuring the itchy skin due to scratching.
- Avoid scratching if possible, to prevent secondary bacterial infection on the skin
- Avoid using soapy and warm water on the affected as it will further dry and irritate the skin
- If the eczema is suspected due to food, please consult a doctor for a diet that is suitable for a child with atopic eczema. Do not simply change the diet without consultation as it may affect the child’s nutrition.
- Reduce bath time and frequency up to 3 times a day, for less than 5 minutes to prevent further drying
- Avoid letting the child swim in chlorinated pool water or sea to prevent skin irritation
- Dress the child in large, baggy clothes to reduce the friction of its clothes on the skin
- When the child first develops, best to seek medical help for proper diagnosis and treatment and do not start with own medication
- Make sure to keep the environment cool to prevent flare-ups of eczema